Send metrics from Nginx to Datadog metrics

A simple guide to send metrics from Nginx to Datadog metrics in just a few minutes.
type: tutorialdomain: sourcesdomain: sinkssource: nginx_metricssink: datadog_metrics

Metrics are an essential part of observing any service; without them you'll have significant blind spots. But collecting and analyzing them can be a real challenge -- especially at scale. Not only do you need to solve the basic task of collecting your metrics, but you must do it in a reliable, performant, and robust manner. Nothing is more frustrating than having your metrics pipeline fall on it's face during an outage, or even worse, cause the outage!

Fear not! In this guide we'll build an observability pipeline that will send metrics from Nginx to Datadog metrics.


What is Nginx?

Nginx is an HTTP and reverse proxy server, a mail proxy server, and a generic TCP/UDP proxy server.

What is Datadog metrics?

Datadog is a monitoring service for cloud-scale applications, providing monitoring of servers, databases, tools, and services, through a SaaS-based data analytics platform.


How This Guide Works

We'll be using [Vector][urls.vector_website] to accomplish this task. Vector is a popular open-source observability data pipeline. It's written in Rust, making it lightweight, ultra-fast and highly reliable. And we'll be deploying Vector as a agent.

Vector daemon deployment strategyVector daemon deployment strategy
1. Your service logs to STDOUT
STDOUT follows the 12 factor principles.
2. STDOUT is captured
STDOUT is captured and sent to an Nginx server.
3. Vector collects & fans-out data
Vector will sends metrics to [Datadog metrics](

What We'll Accomplish

We'll build an observability data pipeline that:

  • Collects metrics from Nginx.
    • Enriches data with useful Nginx context.
    • Efficiently collects data and checkpoints read positions to ensure data is not lost between restarts.
  • Sends metrics to Datadog metrics.
    • Compresses data to optimize bandwidth.
    • Automatically retries failed requests, with backoff.
    • Securely transmits data via Transport Layer Security (TLS).
    • Batches data to maximize throughput.

All in just a few minutes!


  1. Install Vector

    curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh
  2. Configure Vector

    cat <<-'VECTORCFG' > ./vector.toml
    type = "nginx_metrics"
    endpoints = [ "http://localhost:8000/basic_status" ]
    type = "datadog_metrics"
    inputs = [ "nginx_metrics" ]
    api_key = "${DATADOG_API_KEY_ENV_VAR}"
  3. Start Vector

    vector --config ./vector.toml
  4. Observe Vector

    vector top
    explain this command

Next Steps

Vector is powerful tool and we're just scratching the surface in this guide. Here are a few pages we recommend that demonstrate the power and flexibility of Vector:

Vector Github repo 4k
Vector is free and open-source!
Vector quickstart
Get setup in just a few minutes
Vector documentation
Everything you need to know about Vector